Glossary (in process)
With this Glossary (in process), I propose another navigation through the texts, concepts, and gestures at work in Studies on Fantasmical Anatomies. The Glossary does not aim at delivering objective clarity or fixed definitions of the terms. It weaves delicate threads between the words I appropriate, use, and manipulate. It dissects my body of work in other ways, allowing for transversal connections to emerge. The terms are those I have researched and feel close to. They are those I invent, write, and speak during the lessons.
Phantasms, parable, poetry, dream, spirituality, religion, metaphor, weights, articulations, desire for systems, unclosed systems, circuits, vibrant matter, pale green, pink, yellow, violet, fiction, repetition, fragmentation, polyphony, infinitude, creation, endless abductions.
Cannibal desire. The desire to make the body disappear yet maintain its presence. Letting the body transform through digestion.
Located at the beginning of the colon on the lower right side of the abdominal cavity, the appendix is medically said to have no function. The appendix is also a central but subsidiary part of the research.
During the Feldenkrais session Artificial Floor, the participant is lying on his or her back, with their legs comfortably supported by rollers, while the practitioner touches one foot with a flat board. The artificial floor reverses the usual relation between body and support surface; rather than the foot seeking support from the floor, the flat board approaches the foot sole, thereby eliciting a learning process that may influence subsequent use of the foot in standing and walking. In Fantasmical Anatomies, artificial floors are conveyed using books, words, images, and different objects.
The superior cervical vertebra of the spine. It is located in the neck. Just like the Titan Atlas who was deemed to carry the heavens on his shoulder, the anatomical atlas supports the head.
Attention flottante (gleichschwebende Aufmerksamkeit; evenly-suspended attention)
Evenly-suspended attention, also known as open attention. To be present, to take care of, to abandon oneself to a state of associative floating attention without fixing perceptions and memories.
The gaze of blindness, a gaze that does not need vision.
The notion of the body is a fiction created by the effects of language.
Choreographic approaches and attitudes intertwine with my Feldenkrais treatments. Besides choreographic gestures (repetition, contraction, release, spiraling, reverse, etc.), the therapeutic sessions include speculative movements and fictional anatomies. The sessions are choreographic and therapeutic experiments in the field of treatment. They address singular and collective bodies, the suspension of medical diagnosis, and the possibilities of listening to non-expressive movements.
The scar can be the point of departure for a session. From a physiological point of view, a scar is an adhesion. Scars have no physiological axes of movement. They can be present between fascia layers, organ and fascia, or tendon fibres within a tendon sheath.
Compression is a choreographic gesture and one mode of generating a fantasmical anatomy. In my notebook La rage de dents (Toothache), I connected the body parts that are traversed by pain and pulled them together tightly into one small entity.
Corps parasite (parasitic body)
The parasite is a microbe, a guest, a noise, the static in the system or the interference in a channel (such as tinnitus), the mother’s voice. Para-site is another site, a counter-site that opens up a new space of interactions.
A state in which uncanny thoughts, stances, actions come about. Research that is drifting, groping, exciting, full of detours, an exploration of a somatic universe at the intersection of dream-like experiences. The right to inconsistency and incoherency.
Desire for symmetry
A desire which is embedded in the body and reinforced by education and therapeutic practices. A struggle that I encounter in myself and with patients. A binary desire which is deeply embedded in our ways of being. The Fantasmical Anatomies lesson on the symmetrical body disturbs the desire for symmetry by displacing the body in a space in which everything appears to be weightless.
Non-expression of movement.
Contrary to the dissection that one usually associates with anatomy, I work with dissection as a form of re-orientation through fragmentation. I associate it with dis-section as a dire section. It is the capacity to name a section. It is not a cut.
An echo, but nothing comes back.
A movement of torsion which provokes transformation. I use it as a therapeutic gesture and as a methodology, distorting the Feldenkrais Method into Fantasmical Anatomies.
A term I invented to name the intersection of the fantastic and the fantasme.
Surplus, excessive energy beyond life, whispered expansions, invisible prostheses and supports, sensorial thoughts which act, achronological sensations that avoid an immediacy of meaning, of logic, of sensation; connected inner voices, polyphonic somas.
Glossa (γλῶσσα); tongue and language. Fantasmical Anatomies draws on etymological detours and dictionary entries. It contains the tongue, tongues, unknown voices and obsolete languages.
“Glossary: for readers from elsewhere, who don’t deal very well with unknown words or who want to understand everything. But, perhaps to establish for ourselves, ourselves as well, the long list of words within us whose sense escapes or, taking this farther, to fix the syntax of this language we are babbling. The readers of here are future.”
- Édouard Glissant, Malemort, 231. Quoted in Glissant, É. (1990) Poetics of Relation. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, xxii.
During my research I gave a lesson in which gravity does not exist anymore, but remains a vague memory in the body. In this environment, the notion of reversibility needs to change, as the point of departure no longer consists in being pulled towards earth. The lesson proposed to re-sense weight, direction, and body masses, opening up new possibilities for orientation.
A state of bind; a situation where the body is restricted in the direction of movement.
A figure that introduces a non-human perspective in the research.
Sediments, ancient constructions. Many voices inside the bones, many movements. It is moving, it is not fixed.
Study method of the practitioner within a Fantasmical Anatomies session.
The way many of the lessons start; a choreographic movement.
Midline in the sense of the milieu of the body, which do not necessarily define right and left, but just a middle environment.
Objet de traitement
Both the object that I use for the treatment and the object that is being treated. Body-objects and object-bodies.
Everything by means of which one leaves a familiar territory, creates other anatomies and generates worlds. Language is an operation. Images are operations.
When I use the term patient, it is not so much about the patient suffering, but more about the notion of patience. The patients are the ones who are patient with me. Patient with me, but also patient with the world. Together, we listen with patience. It is a shared practice. We patiently suspend time, while being in the same space. In this sense it is an act and not a passive state.
Plaster is the material that shows how artificial skin is. It dries in 3-10 minutes depending on its components and the humidity of the plastered body and the room.
Plasticité anatomique (anatomical plasticity)
The ability of anatomy to become a dynamic organism that takes form but also gives form.
The poe(i)tic is both a written form and an activity, poetry and poiesis. In Ancient Greek, poiesis (ποίησις) denotes the bringing into being of something that did not exist before. By means of language, I produce displacements, collisions and associations in an attempt to generate movements, somatic responses and felt realities. Throughout the research, all discourses on anatomy were taken as poe(i)tic.
Prosthetic body (corps prothèse)
Proximity and distance
Getting closer and getting far away. Proximity and distance are not two polar entities, as something far away can feel close and something close can be estranged. They determine the sense of rhythm and quality in a private session, always facing the question: “How far away can one go, and how close can one be?” The “very too close” and “the very too far” address our ambivalent relationship to proximity and distance in the light of the social distancing we face during the pandemic, as well as the different ethics of touch in a therapeutic session.
Iterations of the wandering. Re-faire l’errance.
The body is an instrument that measures and records details of earthquakes, such as force and duration, though not only geological. A body impacted by upheavals, sudden changes or disruptions, reflecting the planetary movements – quakes that take place beneath the surface. The seismographic bodies are condensations of these processes of social upheaval.
Holding, being held by, inter-holding. A non-dual relationship. The sensation of gravity.
From Ancient Greek soma, “body”. In somatic practices, soma refers to the living body beyond the body-mind dualism. I use the term “somatic” to describe how the materiality and characteristics of things or individuals is achieved by bodily changes, environmental impact or practices.
The sponge is a sedentary aquatic invertebrate organism with a soft, porous body. Sponges absorb water to extract nutrients and oxygen. They clean and absorb information. In The Lesson on the Tongue, the sponge is a tongue that licks the floor. It scrubs and erases traces. A sponge is a subject of a personal body-event. Sponges have history.
Still point (the right to non-expression)
In osteopathy, the still point is the point of lowest tension of a tissue. This stillness can be very potent. When the body stops expressing what it expressed before (the rotation of a bone, an expansion, a contraction, etc.), it pursues internal work that it will not let you see. However, at the end of that stillness everything is improved.
The support is different from the surface. The support is not only a premise of movement, but might also be a movement in itself.
I asked one of my patients to sing their tinnitus, to try to understand its voice. I thought that tinnitus could be the ability to understand the song of other languages. Something that needs urgently to be communicated to us humans with an unbearable and annoying tone, like oracles that scream in our ears. A form of paralinguistics.
Touched apart, together
“Touched apart, together” plays with a verse from Mallarmé’s poem “Le Nénuphar Blanc (The White Waterlily)”: “separés, on est ensemble”, which one can translate as “apart, we are together”. The contradictory relation between the apart and the together addresses whether there can be touch without contact. I expanded this notion in a practice called Telepathic Treatments.
“Trans” denotes a movement across, above and beyond. Trans-corporeality speaks to the way bodies are interconnected and traversed by each other. “Trans-corporeality means that all creatures, as embodied beings, are intermeshed with the dynamic, material world, which crosses through them, transforming them, and is transformed by them”
- Alaimo, S. (2018) ‘Trans-corporeality’, in Braidotti, R. and Hlavajova, M. (eds.) Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 435.
I draw on the notion of trans-interiority to problematize the strict opposition between exterior and interior, between container and contained. It pertains to a desire for deferral of the limit between inside and outside, between private and public. Trans-interiority is not foremostly an opposition to exteriority, but rather a shared interiority; a communication of experiences and of sensing together.
VHS (Video Home System)
A body that transports memories, but also the sound of the waves and thunder.
Vibrations speak for themselves. The foetus develops itself through vibrations, moving its lips in response to its sonic environment and the palpable sounds of voices therein.
One voice carries many voices. As I speak English, you hear my French. I speak through and with the voices of others. It is a timbre, a granulation.